Navy announces $880.8 million in military communications contracts for MIDS LVT terminals
SAN DIEGO, 24 Aug. 2015. U.S. Navy military communications experts are earmarking more than three-quarters of a billion dollars for new military situational awareness communications terminals that enable U.S. and allied aircraft, ships, and ground forces to exchange their tactical pictures in near-real time.
Officials of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego announced two contracts Friday worth as much as $880.8 million to build and maintain the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Low Volume Terminal (LVT) .
The MIDS-LVT is the data communications terminal that enables U.S. and allied military forces to exchange tactical information securely in near-real time using the Link 16 military tactical data exchange network. Link 16 is designed to exchange text, imagery, and digital voice messages.
On this order SPAWAR is awarding a potential $514.3 million contract to ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif., and a potential $366.5 million contract to Data Link Solutions LLC in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Data Link Solutions is a joint venture between Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems.
The MIDS-LVT provides secure, high-capacity, jam-resistant, digital data and voice communications capability for Navy, Air Force, and Army ships, aircraft, land vehicles, and fixed-site command posts.
The MIDS-LVT enables military forces to exchange their tactical pictures in near-real time using text messages, imagery, and two channels of digital voice that transmits and receives at 2.4 and 16 kilobits per second.
For example, Link 16 enables fighter aircraft and missile-defense forces to share radar information from the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), as well as to share a real-time tactical picture that points out the locations of friendly and enemy forces.
The MIDS-LVT is one of the latest versions of Link 16 terminals, and is smaller, more lightweight, and less expensive than the original Link 16 terminal called the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS).
ViaSat's MIDS-LVT(1) airborne terminal uses reprogrammable components and a modular VME architecture, and can exchange coded data as quickly as 800 kilobits per second. The Data Link Solutions MIDS-LVT uses a 1 ATR form factor, VME and RS-422 databuses, and SEM-E circuit cards.
Just three months ago ViaSat and Data Link Solutions won separate large contracts to build and maintain MIDS Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) terminals. MIDS JTRS is a four-channel software-defined radio that delivers existing Link 16 tactical networking and situational awareness with concurrent multi-netting-4 and tactical air navigation (TACAN) functionality.
On the MIDS JTRS orders last spring, Data Link Solutions won a $478.6 million MIDS JTRS production contract on 16 June, and ViaSat won a contract of identical value on 28 May. The total value of these MIDS JTRS production contracts was $957.2 million.
On Friday's MIDS-LVT orders ViaSat will do the work in Carlsbad, Calif., Data Link Solutions will do its work in Wayne, N.J., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Both companies will be finished by August 2020.